Dog and Cat

More than $85M in relief steered to Tennessee homeowners

Tennessee homeowners have received more than $85 million in relief from March 1 through Sept. 30 under a $25 billion national settlement with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers, according to the Tennessee Attorney General’s office.

That settlement arose out of an investigation into certain mortgage servicing and foreclosure practices nationwide. The settlement with Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citi, GMAC/Ally Financial and Wells Fargo should provide about $146 million in relief to Tennessee homeowners, and it addresses future mortgage servicing practices.

The $85 million Tennesseans have received so far in relief comes in the form of loan modifications, refinances and facilitated short sales. What’s more, servicers are in the process of offering an additional $28 million in savings to eligible Tennessee homeowners, according to a progress report.

Struggling homeowners can call the state’s mortgage assistance hotline toll-free at 855-876-7283, where they can speak to a representative who can direct them to a free foreclosure prevention counselor and explain various housing assistance programs.

Homeowners who are having trouble with the five servicers covered by the settlement also can report problems to the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight by visiting www.mortgageoversight.com.

Malco’s Ridgeway 4 hosts wine tasting to celebrate Anna Karenina release

Malco’s Ridgeway 4 Cinema is hosting a winter wine tasting next week to celebrate the release of the Focus Features film “Anna Karenina.”

The event will take place Nov. 30 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the theatre, 5853 Ridgeway Center Parkway. Participants will have a selection of reds, whites and sparkling wines to sample, as well as the chance to get door giveaways and win prizes.

Admission is $10 per person. Malco also will be accepting additional donations for Literacy Mid-South. (Film admissions and concessions are separate from the wine event).

Handy Theatre being torn down

The long-abandoned W.C. Handy Theatre in South Memphis is finally coming down.

The city is demolishing the structure, which has been derelict for years. It was built in 1946 and, according to the office of Memphis City Councilwoman Wanda Halbert, included a stage and booth for small stage shows to capitalize on a hoped-for return of vaudeville.

It later hosted major acts during the 1950s and 1960s like Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington and the Bar-Kays.

The hope from the city is that the tear-down will spur a revitalization in the area.

Memphis product featured on Anderson Live

Memphis-based Silicone Arts Laboratories’ product Dermaflage, a topical skincare product that covers up scars and wrinkles, is being featured on CNN broadcaster Anderson Cooper’s TV Show “Anderson Live” on Tues., Nov. 20.

It’s some prominent exposure for Dermaflage and for Silicone Arts. The product was invented by Matt Singer, a former designer of monsters and makeup effects for films and TV shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “X-Files.” Today he’s the director of R&D at Silicone Arts, and he also lectures at the University of Tennesses Health Science Center on maxillofacial prosthetics.

In addition, he sees patients from UT and from Vanderbilt and works with dermatologists and surgeons.

Here’s Singer talking about the product:

South Main King, Rob McGowan, Dies at 65

Rob McGowan, co-founder of the South Main Historic District, died last week after suffering from cancer. He was 65.

The following is courtesy of the South Main Association:

Rob McGowan’s involvement with Downtown began in 1981 with the purchase of 416-418 South Main, auctioned on the Shelby County Courthouse steps. It was the beginning of 10 years on South Main that were marked with challenge, frustration, triumph, and personal loss.

At the time, South Main had been abandoned by the city, by developers, and by local lending institutions. Rob’s first big challenge was to obtain a building permit to begin work on the unused and seriously deteriorated South Main structure he had purchased. Two hard-won years later, in 1983, he and his then-wife, Annie Mahaffey, moved into their studio/residence.

Together, they initiated the establishment of the South Main Historic District and founded the South Main Historic District Association, Memphis Center for Contemporary Art, Tennessee New Art Association, and the art publication NUMBER.

Rob was a true urban pioneer who paid a great personal price for his interest and belief in preserving and revitalizing an urban environment. The South Main District we see and enjoy today is the result of his vision and hard work.

Rob will be missed by many, but his art, writings, and the impact of his civic activism remain as his legacy.”

McGowan, along with his former wife Annie Mahaffey, were the recipients of the Downtown Memphis Commission’s Visionary Awards in September.

“Thanks to their stalwart persistence, this once abandoned and neglected area is now a showcase of historic gems that lure creative businesses and residents to Downtown,” said Paul Morris, DMC president, while presenting their Visionary Awards. “Frankly, their efforts weren’t supported as much as they should have been by the Center City Commission. It’s people like that who have real vision that’s something nobody else can see and they drive forward on their vision, they don’t give up just because other organizations are not supportive.”

McGowan, unable to attend the party due to radiation treatment, sent over some thoughts that Morris read to the crowd:

My former wife, Annie, and I bought our building on South Main in 1982 and soon after began a life-consuming, nearly 10-year struggle on many difficult fronts, aided later by others who ventured into the district to encourage revitalization. It was, to be quite honest, mostly no fun at all. But I’m proud to look back over my life and to know that Annie and I made a positive difference in helping to ensure the future of vitality for the South Main Street Historic District. I doubt that very many of you can fully appreciate how astonishing it is to me here in 2012 to see what a transformation has occurred in the district and surrounding areas. Some of you could not begin to imagine what South Main was like in the early 80s – the empty desolation, the crime, the imminent threat of widespread demolition, along with the official indifference of the city of Memphis and the old Center City Commission of that time, more than a quarter century ago. We have today a wholly different world in the South Main area. South Main has for several decades now lived in my heart and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. A careful respect for the district’s history and its historically significant built environment will always be a major key to its lively survive into the decades and into the centuries ahead.”

McGowan’s book, “South Main Stories,” derived from his experiences in South Main, has recently been released and is available here.

Dansette

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